Parents Education Center

My Child Hates Homework!4 min read

This article was originally published by Nicholeen Peck on Teaching Self-Government.

My daughter has a hard time to stay on task with homework. Yet when she reads a book, she can not get away from the book. We are trying to praise her more often. What other suggestion(s) do you have to help her with staying on task to do homework?

I was reading your book and came across the mention of Oliver DeMille mention of Depth Phase. How can I find the article for the speech on the depth phase from 2006 speech at annual Thomas Jefferson forum? He talked about eight types of missions.

Many people have this same problem with their youth too. Great job on praising the good things. That is important for teaching cause and effect. There are multiple things to consider while analyzing this situation.
First, does your daughter get overwhelmed easily? If so, could she have more work than she knows how to accomplish on her own? Many children need to learn how to eat the elephant one bite at a time. The best way to help them learn this skill is to show them how to do it. This requires more time from the parent initially, but after a while will make a great, independent student. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can do the school work with your student. I know there is an old taboo about doing that, but it’s really just a myth. There is no rule that says a child has to sit and struggle at something alone to learn. Make the learning time enjoyable by discussing the material and learning it together, and you will create a lasting memory and a good student.
Second, does your child hate learning? If so, then you need to get more involved and start learning deeper things together that are not in the textbook. The fact that your child wants to escape in a book suggests to me that she thinks escaping from thinking is fun. So, I would probably start reading books to her, and discussing with her. No person is too old to be read to. I love it when my husband and children read to me. My 14 year old son loves to get read to as well. Today we read Plato’s Apology together and had a fantastic discussion.
I don’t know how old your daughter is, so here are a few book ideas which could work for different age groups.
Ages 6 – 12
The Trumpet of the Swan (Math book)
Snow Treasure
Mathematicians Are People Too
The Little Maid Series
Ages 11-18
Do Hard Things
Red Scarf Girl
Alas Babylon
Lonesome Gods

All of the books listed above are great! Alas Babylon could have a few sware words, so watch for those, but the content and discussion is fantastic. A must read for teens is Do Hard Things. If you could only pick one, pick that one, it’s written by teens for teens, and it is incredible. We do leadership education at our house, and this book is all about inspiring youth to become the leaders they are supposed to be.
Speaking of leadership education, you asked about Oliver DeMille, because I mentioned him in my book. He is the leadership education guru. If you go to his site, you will find the presentation you are referring to for free download. It is great!
Back to the first question:
The third thing to consider is does your child know how to follow instructions? And, does she know that doing homework is an instruction? If you have taught her the steps to following instructions, then you can just pre-teach her before you tell her to do her homework. “Sarah, I am going to give you an isntruction. I need you to do your homework now. Okay?”
If she has a hard time staying on task, she might need a time limit attached to it. So you would say, “Sarah, I am going to give you an instruction. You need to do homework for 30 minutes and then check back with me. Okay?” After 30 minutes of hard work, she may need a small break and then do another period of time until it is over. Of course older students should be able to put in more time than this.
The most important thing you can do, is get involved in studies, and the next most important thing you can do to encourage your child to stay on task is to make sure you teach them the four basic skills outlined in the book.
Happy Studying!

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